08/03/2006

Smoking ban 'deters smokers'

The threat of a smoking ban being introduced is encouraging smokers to give up the habit, a survey has suggested.

Research conducted on behalf of Cancer Research UK found that a fifth of doctors reported an increase in patients seeking advice to help quit smoking since MPs voted in favor of a total ban in England last month.

Another poll, conducted by the No Smoking Day organisation, also suggested that 22% of smokers would quit smoking as a direct result of the ban. The organisation said that this would amount to 2.8 million smokers kicking the habit.

Both polls were released to coincide with No Smoking Day.

Professor Alex Markham, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, described the results of the survey as "exciting". Professor Markham said: "The experience of countries that have already gone smoke-free show that bans help many smokers quit."

However, Simon Clark, director of pro-smoking group Forest, said that the results of the No Smoking Day organisation poll were "laughable". He said that in Ireland, where a smoking ban came into force in 2004, cigarette sales fell initially, but went back up again.

A full smoking ban is due to come into force in Scotland at the end of the month, followed by a ban in Northern Ireland which will come into effect next year.

(KMcA/GB)


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